Translation as a Rhetoric of Meaning

Author: Jose M. Davila-Montes (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

  • Translation as a Rhetoric of Meaning


    Translation as a Rhetoric of Meaning



From early romanticism to more recent post-structuralist and post-colonial studies, all the possibilities and impossibilities that are inherent in translation have fueled debate about authorship, intent, readership, functional equivalence, world view, the building of national literatures, power differentials, ethics, and gender issues—among many others. And, of course, about the nature of “meaning,” as the alleged sole legal tender of “all things translation.” Translation has less often been scrutinized as a form of rhetorical transaction: fundamentally, all translations are attempts, in and of themselves, to persuade their readership about some degree of correspondence with their source. However, the relationship between Translation and Rhetoric surpasses this ontological threshold of persuasion and metatextual transcendence in a far more sophisticated way, exceeding also the sheer plane of textual mechanics. This paper seeks to demonstrate how a systematic inclusion of rhetoric-centered approaches in Translation Studies, and vice versa, would cross-fertilize not just those two fields, but how it also would help to shed light on some areas where a monolingual focus has all too often imposed significant limitations to progress. It will also provide a quick overview of what I define as a “Rhetoric of Meaning in Translation Studies,” and will also explore how the study of rhetorical correspondence at the micro level in source and target languages and texts may be substantially hindered by significant structural disparities at the macro level that may have not been systematically or successfully incorporated in the wider theoretical framework of Translation Studies.

Keywords: Translation and Rhetoric, Compared Rhetoric, World View, Rhetorical Maps, Compared Deviations, LCC, HCC, meaning

How to Cite:

Davila-Montes, J. M., (2017) “Translation as a Rhetoric of Meaning”, Poroi 13(1), p.1-28. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2017 Jose M. Davila-Montes

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Published on
31 May 2017
Peer Reviewed
CC BY-NC 4.0